Re: Wearing Hakama
Personally I see wearing the hakama and the award of black belt very much as a rite of passage. Years of hard practice, travelling thousands of miles, losing touch with old friends because aikido came first (though making many new ones in the process), the constant re-evaluation of technique and attitude and then the realisation that this is only one stage on the path.
Folding the hakama serves at least two purposes - a form of self discipline and more important provides time to reflect on the class and/or general gossip about anything.
Don't have any problems with any way various organisations deal with the hakama question. After all when in Rome.........